Tuesday, December 9, 2008

arrogant misrepresentation

There is another story early in the book "Adventures in Missing the Point", a story which I have titled "An Exercise in Arrogant Misrepresentation".

It comes in a chapter written by McLaren, and he calls it the Parable of the Race (not that he's comparing his insights to Jesus or anything...). It's found on pages 26 and 27, and is too long to give in its entirety here, so here's a quick summation.

In a very dull land, a race is announced. When race time came, thousands were at the starting line, some to run and some to watch. When the race began, those who came to race ran a few steps, then started acting as if they had all won the race. After a time, those who were watched thought that, since the runners weren't running, maybe they should instead, and so they did.

The point of the story is to contend that salvation is not a one-time experience, and as well it seems to contend that all those who believe that salvation is something that happens in a moment are merely staying at the starting line, happy to be saved but not doing anything else. Thus, I call it "An Exercise in Arrogant Misrepresentation".

Because I can't think of a church I've ever spent any amount of time in which it has been said that the moment of salvation is all their is, that after that all else doesn't matter, that we aren't to worry about living holy and godly lives between salvation and Heaven. Perhaps the supposedly 'progressive' churches McLaren and Campolo have been around have been ones that have been contend to be 'only saved' (saved from what, though, may be wondered, as they seem to not believe in hell, or heaven, or for that matter even God or an afterlife), but out here in the real world, we think Christians need to live like Christians. We think that the moment of salvation is a good moment, a good start, and necessary place to begin, much as is represented in the book "Pilgrim's Progress", but just as in that book, salvation is only the beginning of the journey.

So, yes, I say this 'parable' of McLaren's is a misrepresentation, and I say that it's an arrogant one, too. To even pretend that up until he and his emergents came along the church was filled with people content simply to be happy to be saved and not concerned about living as Christians is distasteful and, yes, arrogant. I know better.

But I'm getting used to such arrogance from emergents.

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